The Mascom Volleyball League started last week with some scintillating matches. While it is too early to decide who will walk away with the trophy, Sunday Standard’s Botlhale Koothupile looks at the parade of players who will shape the title contest.
Kutlwano Volleyball Club
Top of the list is the evergreen Kutlwano Women Volleyball captain Tebogo Sejoe. Just coming off the injury which limited her participation when Botswana failed to book her place at the Rio Olympics, Sejoe is now back and fighting fit. Though she is going into the twilight of her career, the ‘Big House’ women’s Captain will be an influential figure as her team tries to defend the championship they won last year. If there were any doubt as to her ability, Sejoe laid them to rest with an accomplished display when Kutlwano faced Kalavango in their season opening match last week Sunday. Coming on as a substitute each time her team was trailing their opponents, the 29 year old’s influence was evident as she turned fortunes in her team’s favour every time she was called upon.
Position: Outside Hitter
Having joined the Ramotswa outfit in her early teens, Moyo’s growth over the years has been meteoric. While still the team’s youngest regular player at just 17 years of age, the young Dynamite is expected to be a reference point for her team this season. As a measure of her potential, Moyo has been called up for almost all the country’s national teams, from junior to senior national team. As a matter of fact, the youngster was part of the nationall team that represented the country at the All Africa Games qualifiers. This year, she was again called into the national team that went to do duty at the Olympic qualifiers that were held in Cameroon.
Position: Outside Attacker
Just this past season, Wright was the shining light at the Mahalapye outfit, Magstimela. However, with the departure of Lizzy Gasekgonwe, the 24 year old has now been drafted to join Kalavango. According to sources, the outside attacker has always drawn the admiration of Kalavango and would have been recruited even if the club had not lost its other stars. Though the team says there will be no pressure on her to perform, the truth is as the heir to Gasekgonwe’s shirt and position in the Kalavango women’s team, more will be expected from her. However, if her weekend performance in the team’s opening game against Kutlwano is anything to go by, then the former Magstimela player is surely undaunted at the prospect of filling Gasekgonwe’s boots.
Having been in the periphery of the national team for a while now, it is hard to imagine that Lemphitlhetse is still a young player. The 23 year old outside attacker joined Kalavango from Magstimela while in her late teens. Despite her enormous talent, it is surprising that Lemphitlhetse has not hit the heights she was expected to reach while still a teenager playing for Magstimela. This was perhaps due to her playing second fiddle to the likes of Gabaresepe Mashaole and Lizzy Gasekgonwe. However, with both players having left the club, Lemphitlhetse finds herself having to shoulder the responsibility of leading the team in attack and this may just be the season when her full potential will be revealed. Against Kutlwano in their first game of the season, the youngster, alongside her fellow former Magstimela teammate Ngirl Wright were Mafolofolo’s best players. “She is not only the team’s power hitter, but she is also the team’s best passer of the ball. She can fulfil all duties asked of her to lead the team in attack and in block,” her captain Monica Alfred surmised.
Over the past few seasons, ‘Lizzy,’ as the Maunatlala born lass is affectionately known has set the Mascom Volleyball League alight with some scintillating performances. After ditching Kalavango for Mafolofolo midway through last season, Gasekgonwe was at the helm of attack as Mafolofolo won the Capital BMW tournament ahead of bitter rivals Kutlwano. However, with the attacker now starting the season with Mafolofolo, she will, alongside teammate and setter Kelebogile Mahupela, be expected to set the league alight once again as her team tries to break Kutlwano’s stranglehold on the league.